Notes for parties concerning preparation of pleading before ICJ



The original of every pleading shall be signed by the agent and filed in the Registry, preferably in two copies, or accompanied by a certified copy, for communication to the other party; it must include the documents annexed and any translations (Art. 52, para. 1, of the Rules of Court). A signed list of all documents annexed must also be furnished at the time the pleading is filed (Art. 50, para. 3, of the Rules of Court). Lastly, the original of the pleading shall be accompanied by the number of additional copies required by the Registry (Art. 52, para. 1, of the Rules of Court).

The documents annexed to the pleading must be certified by the agent as true copies of the originals (Art. 50, para. 1, of the Rules of Court). It should be remembered that it may well not be necessary to annex to a pleading the complete text of a document produced in support of the contentions advanced and that it may be possible to annex only the relevant extracts (Art. 50, para. 2, of the Rules of Court). In that event, however, at least two certified copies of the whole document must be deposited with the pleading, unless it has been published and is readily available (ibid.), one of which will be transmitted to the other party. Further, if the reproduction in large numbers of a particular annex (e.g., a large map) presents technical problems, the matter should be raised with the Registrar at the earliest opportunity, so that other arrangements can be made.

Documents which are not in English or French must be translated into one of those languages and the translation certified as accurate by the agent (Art. 51, para. 3, of the Rules of Court). For practical convenience, it is acceptable for such a translation to constitute the relevant annex to a pleading; but if this is done, at least two certified copies of the original-language text of the document must be filed with the pleading, one of which will be transmitted to the other party.

In the present case, the number of copies of the pleadings to be filed in the first instance, including annexes, is 125. The parties may choose to file all 125 copies of the pleadings in paper form, or 75 copies in paper form and 50 electronic copies (using PDF-text as well as providing a copy in MS-Word, for use by the Registry). If a party chooses to file all 125 copies of a pleading in paper form, it should nevertheless provide the Registry with an electronic version of that pleading.

In a footnote to Article 52 of the Rules of Court, the agents of the parties are requested to ascertain from the Registry the usual format of the pleadings. The format to be respected, irrespective of whether the document is printed or not, is 19 cm x 26 cm, so as to ensure some degree of uniformity in the presentation of the pleadings. These must in addition be readily legible and easy to handle.


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